Do you know why we celebrate Shri Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti? Know more about this festival!
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As Akshay Tritiya falls in the month of March or April (as per Gregorian calendar) i.e. spring or summer season, the devotees donate shoes, umbrellas, cooked rice mixed with curd, sugarcane juice or food items considered to be cool in nature, consumable in scorching heat of the summer. It is also a practice to arrange for free drinking water service for thirsty ones. Various organizations arrange tree plantation events, invite people to plant different trees and request them to nurture these plants. Women gather in the evening to perform some religious formalities.
Hanuman Jayanti is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman, an avid devotee of Lord Rama was born on the full moon day of Chaitra month, as per Hindu calendar. This festival is celebrated all over India. In Maharashtra, devotees gather together and recite the kirtans (devotional songs) early in the morning before sunrise. As Lord Hanuman was born at sunrise, special aartis, pujas are performed during the sunrise.
Devotees visit Hanuman temples and offer flowers, Prasad. It is believed that Lord Hanuman protects his devotees from evil powers coming towards them. People who are in sade sati (Dosha) phase, offer special prayers to their protector, Lord Hanuman. We know that each rashi (zodic sign) faces sade sati, a period of 7.5 years of their challenging time. In this long period of sade sati, Shani (Saturn) make you face toughest phase of your life (physically and mentally). It is believed that devotees of Lord Hanuman face fewer effects of Sade Sati. Thus they offer prayers and take blessings from Lord Hanuman. In evenings, devotees read Ramayana and Lord Hanuman stories. Many organizations arrange meal events on this occasion. In Tamil Nadu, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated in Margajhi month of mula nakshtra.
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The next morning people wake up early and meet together to celebrate Rangwali Holi. They greet each other, sing, dance and enjoy special Holi delicacies like Gujiya and Milk Thandai (special milk shake made with almonds, rose petals and saffron). They keep chanting ‘Holi Hai’. Some people visit temples and pray God for the colourful year ahead. Families spend quality time with each other. They forget old grudges and hug each other. So, Holy has a cultural importance. It is believed that Lord Krishna used to celebrate Holi by throwing colours in the sky with their friends in Vrindavan. So, this is one the most awaiting festival, where people are energetic and happy. Holi is not only celebrated in India, but the festival is also spread to Europe and America.
Similarly, Lohri in Punjab is a festival dedicated to fire and the sun. It is associated with the harvesting of Rabi crops, which takes place in January. Farmers thank the nature, the sun for their help for bestowing successful harvesting. Hence, they consider this day as the start of their new financial year. Similarly, whole Tamil community of the world celebrates this festival as Pongal. Pongal is a sweet dish made by rice, jaggery, moong dal and milk. People take holy dip in rivers on this auspicious day.